Image from museumca.org
Recently there have been a number of articles about mercury being found in streams and rivers and how fish are testing positive for mercury. But do you know how to limit your exposure and protect yourself from mercury in the environment?
Here are some common places mercury can be found: fish can contain mercury, you can have mercury in old fillings, when coal is burned it releases mercury into the air, some light bulbs contain mercury, paint can have mercury in it, batteries and thermometers can have mercury in them, etc. How you are affected by that mercury of course depends on many factors including age, how long you are exposed to it, etc.
Let’s start with the biggest contributer to mercury exposure…the coal-burning factory. Per the EPA “Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 40 percect of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions.” That’s a pretty big number, but one thing coal-burning power plants can immediately start doing is using Green Plus® liquid combustion catalyst. Green Plus has been proven to reduce CO2, NOx and SO2. It’s not the end-all solution, but it’s a start on reducing their harmful emissions.
Another example of mercury exposure is eating fish contaminated with high levels of mercury (which quite possibly came from those same coal-burning plants). This has been known to cause damage to the immune and/or nervous system especially in babies or younger children. And while the EPA recommends eating fish such as salmon and catfish (both commonly known to be low in mercury), they also state to check local advisories just to be safe.
Mercury found in old fillings can cause inflammation, bleeding gums, bone loss around the tooth and can leave a taste of metal in your mouth. According to Mercuryfreenow.com, “It’s a scientific fact that toxic mercury vapor is continually being released from amalgam fillings. 80% of it enters your body and accumulates in it.” You should also know that the material used to make up amalgam fillings is required to be placed in a hazardous waste container when it enters a dental office…do you really want that hazardous waste then put into your mouth?
Many light bulbs and thermometers contain small amounts of mercury. But even though the amounts are small, if one of these were to break and release the mercury inside, it should be treated seriously. Metallic mercury starts to evaporate when exposed to air and even just the few drops of mercury found in a light bulb or thermometer can fill a room with toxic vapors. For information on cleaning up spills or disposing of products containing mercury, the EPA has a very good checklist that can be found on their website.
For more complete information on the causes, symptoms and prevention of mercury poisoning, check out this article on Medicine.net. Face it, no matter where you live or what you do, you have probably come in contact with mercury at some point in your life. Learn what you can do to limit the affect mercury has on you and your environment.